December 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized
With things wrapping up just before Christmas break, this past week was a pretty busy week with everything. On Friday, I handed in my last assignment and had my one and only final, so I am now officially finished with my first semester here at the University of Limerick! Since we don’t start classes again until the last week of January, it will be nice to get a break from schoolwork for a couple weeks.
Also, earlier in the week, Gareth, Ryan and I were able to meet with John Keyes, who as Ryan mentioned, works with Arsenal soccer. John is actually from the UK but has been coming to Limerick every other week for the past year to work with the local disadvantaged communities in the area. It was great for all of us to be able to sit down with him and fully inform him of the goals and visions of Sport Changes Life. Fortunately, he has very similar goals and hopes to successfully help the individuals in these areas in similar ways SCL has been helping those in Belfast. John stressed the point to us that it is not all about teaching and playing sports with these kids. His main goal is to mentor and guide the kids so they learn to make the decisions that are best for their overall wellbeing. Sports are obviously a great way to teach them discipline and teamwork, but he also wants them to learn that schoolwork must always come first, which is why he spends time with them in the classroom. It was great to hear that his ideas and approaches are consistent with those of SCL, and we all think he will be a great individual for Ryan and I to work with while we are here.
In addition to this meeting, Ryan and I went with John to one of the schools in Moyross. Over the last 12 weeks, John and another individual have implemented an after school program in which a group of students spend an extra hour at school working on homework, and if they behave well, they are rewarded with some time playing soccer. The kids welcomed both Ryan and I with excitement and an endless number of questions, wanting to know everything about us. Since it was the last day of the program before Christmas, they got to spend most of the time playing soccer. After spending the time with them, one of the main things I learned was that I should probably brush up on my soccer skills before the next time I see them…I don’t think too many of them were impressed with my skills!! I guess I’ll have to challenge them all to a basketball match soon to make up for my lack of soccer skills!! On a more serious note though, I could tell how much each of them had benefited from their time in the program and all of them said they would definitely do the program again if they had the chance.
On top of all this, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the beautiful coastal town of Kilkee. Kilkee is a popular summer vacation spot for those from Limerick and the view is simply amazing!! I definitely understand why everyone spends their summers there!
I also want to give a huge shout out to the Superleauge team. We played DCU today and after trailing the majority of the game (down 16 at one point), we came home with the W!! It was our toughest match yet but everyone stayed together to fight back!
This time next week I’ll be home with my family/friends in the great state of Pennsylvania!!! Can’t wait to see everyone!